above poster image by Leeson and Dunn, 1970 – and, sadly, still relevant today: click here for article on this iconic image 


NHS Cuts and underfunding

Reducing spending below where it needs to be to meet demand is used to undermine public services. Though NHS services are frequently overwhelmed, whether by the Covid-19 pandemic or winter pressures, KONP believes the NHS is not failing, it is being failed by Governments who refuse to fund it properly. 

Ten years of austerity

Since the 2008 economic crash the Conservative Government, who have been in power since 2010, have been making the argument that the UK needs to ‘balance the books’ with austerity economics after spending billions of pounds bailing out failed banks.
This saw spending fall or flatline for the past decade. Budgets rose by just 1.4 per cent each year on average (adjusting for inflation) in the 10 years between 2009/10 to 2018/19, compared to the 3.7 per cent average rises since the NHS was established.
In this time spending on public health services by councils was also 8 per cent lower in 2017/18 compared to 2013/14 (on a like-for-like basis).

Cuts and-underfunding_privatisation


Impact on patients

The impact on NHS staff and patients has been catastrophic with A&E waiting times worsening significantly over the past decade. The Kings Fund reports The NHS has not met the four-hour waiting time standard at nationally since 2013/14, and it has been missed in every month since July 2015. 
Mental health services have also been badly affected with waiting times for treatment so long that two-fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment contact emergency or crisis services, with one-in-nine (11%) ending up in A&E, research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found. 

Creating an opportunity for private companies

These long waiting times for services open up an opportunity for the private sector to offer alternative services to desperate patients, but also for the Government to outsource ‘failing’ services to organisations who claim (though not prove) they can do it better. For example £10bn has been offered to private hospitals to clear the waiting lists caused by loss of capacity during the Covid pandemic.
This is why cutting spending to the NHS is an issue for campaigners who oppose privatisation of our public services. 
With thanks to national KONP for the above excerpt (click here)


Reduced critical care beds

The NHS is underfunded. The Government says that we can’t afford more, but we know that this underfunding is a political choice – along with the subsequent cuts, closures, lengthening waiting lists and demoralisation of staff.
The reality is that the UK, the worlds sixth largest economy, chooses to spend significantly less per head on health than Germany or France – and less than half what is spent in the US or Switzerland.

cuts 2

Unbelievable but shockingly true; the number of critical care beds/100,000 people:
U.K. 7.3
Germany 33.8
United States 34.3


….. and reduced over-all number of hospital beds in the UK


“The beds aren’t there anymore”….Tory cuts, not covid

cuts 5


Comparative Government spending on health 1955 – 2022

IMG-20210707-WA0000 (2)


Nursing and medical staffing crises

staff numbers



Reduced cash, reduced staffing, reduced NHS beds, reduced ongoing social care …. all obviously have an impact on emergency care:

The Guardian    (14th November 2021)   NHS patients dying in back of ambulances stuck outside A&E, report says

ambulance 2


….and that is just one part of the NHS healthcare system….



Update from Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign:

From SSTHC:On August 4th 2021 South Tyneside Hospital children’s A&E is being downgraded from a Consultant led emergency A&E to a Children’s nurse led minor injuries and minor illness service. The model they have adopted will cut the number of paediatric nursing staff and their direct links to specialities.  We need to keep our Emergency Children’s A&E at South Tyneside Hospital and assessment beds. This is the worst option 2 in the ‘path to excellence’ where they say ‘savings of approximately Ł220,000 will made’. Shame on government and those that are driving these cut backs to vital services. Worse, it will be less safe access for the people of South Tyneside having to travel for emergency care to Sunderland and a more over crowded service for the people of Sunderland.
This is alongside plans already announced to downgrade our A&E when they consult in the autumn on removing access to urgent surgery at South Tyneside District Hospital. These cuts backs are not in our name with over 44,000 signing our petition. It is our hospital and our NHS and we should be able to retain and restore vital acute and community health services that we need.”
The Chronicle    (14th September 2021)    ‘Staff pressures’ blamed as South Tyneside Hospital temporarily sends expectant mums to Sunderland
Shields Gazette   (30th July 2021)     Save South Tyneside Hospital campaigners turn out in rain to protest against ‘downgrading’ of children’s A&E
Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign
website: http://www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org
Chair: Roger Nettleship (roger.nettleship@blueyonder.co.uk)



East Anglian Daily Times    (29th November 2021)    Suffolk – Survey finds no NHS dental practices taking adult patients now
The Guardian    (28th November 2021)   UK health trusts suspend home birth services as midwives shortage deepens
The Guardian    (14th November 2021)   NHS patients dying in back of ambulances stuck outside A&E, report says
The Guardian    (11th November 2021)   ‘It’s awful’: what it’s like to work a 12-hour ambulance shift in England 
The Guardian    (10th November 2021)   NHS is at breaking point and putting patients at high risk, bosses warn
The Guardian     (2nd November 2021)   No 10 set to break promise of 6,000 more GPs in England, Sajid Javid says
The Independent    (18th October 2021)   NHS hospitals still using out-of-date MRI and CT scanners, report says 
The Observer     (16th October 2021)   A&E crisis leaves patients waiting in ambulances outside hospitals for 11 hours
The Guardian    (14th October 2021)   Austerity in England linked to more than 50,000 extra deaths in five years
The Guardian    (14th October 2021)      GPs warn face-to-face appointments plan could lead to exodus of doctors
The Lowdown    (4th October 2021)   Nottingham rations cancer care due to lack of staff
The Guardian     (2nd October 2021)   Doctors, receptionists and practice teams quit after wave of hostility over GP appointments 
Sky News    (2nd October 2021)   Top military chief appointed by government to lead ‘far-reaching’ review of NHS leadership
The Guardian     (1st October 2021)   England’s NHS and care services need 1.1m extra staff by 2031, finds study
The Guardian    (29th September 2021)   Ministers under fire over breaking of mental health crisis pledge in England
The Guardian    (27th September 2021)   Hospitals in England relax Covid rules to help tackle waiting lists
The Guardian    (25th September 2021)   Fears over NHS plan to close all local ambulance stations in London
The Guardian    (13th September 2021)     Shortfall of 50,000 doctors may overwhelm NHS in winter, BMA warns
The Guardian    (13th September 2021)    Sharp rise in acute medical beds occupied by children with nowhere else to go
The Lowdown    (6th September 2021)   Millions go without mental health support
The Guardian   (16th August 2021)   Warning over potential roof collapses at NHS England hospitals
The Guardian    (29th July 2021)    GP clinics at ‘breaking point’ and recovery plan is essential
The Guardian    (28th July 2021)        Dire poverty in north-east England ‘driving many more children into care’
How to Protect Our NHS by Aileen Gemmell, performed by Kenny Boyle:
The Guardian    (25th July 2021)      Nurses’ pay in England to fall 7% in a decade even after government offer
The Guardian    (22nd July 2021)    NHS staff have lost thousands in real pay since 2011, studies find
The Lowdown    (12th July 2021)     Silly season bid to sneak through new prescription charges
The Lowdown    (9th July 2021)      Maternity safety compromised in a third of NHS trusts
Nursing Notes    (3rd July 2021)     Poor nursing pay is a ‘patient safety issue’, explain campaigners ahead of today’s countrywide protests
Mirror    (1st July 2021)    People over 60 could be hit by prescription charges under new Government plans
The Guardian   (29th April 2021)    Covid bereaved condemn government refusal to publish NHS 111 training content
The Guardian   (21st April 2021)   End NHS staff shortages now, Boris Johnson told
The Lowdown   (16th April 2021)     The “terrifying” mental health crisis explained
The Independent    (17th April 2021)    ‘Staff have been treated like cannon fodder’: NHS bosses issue stark warning on future of health service
The Tories did not ‘restore the nursing bursary’.  https://twitter.com/keepnhspublic/status/1362369239999479809
The Guardian    (6th April 2021)   I don’t blame colleagues for leaving the NHS: the government has betrayed them
Left Foot Forward    (1st July 2019)     Medicine menus: How the NHS is being chipped away by stealth




And watch the performance:

How to Protect Our NHS by Aileen Gemmell, performed by Kenny Boyle: